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CNN: First group of Ukrainian pilots to complete US-led F-16 training by summer

by Dmytro Basmat February 21, 2024 7:33 AM 2 min read
F-16 fighter jets during a military parade in Warsaw on the day of the Polish army on Aug. 15, 2018, Warsaw, Poland. (Photo credit: Krystian Dobuszynski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The first four Ukrainian pilots are scheduled to complete U.S.-led training on F-16 fighter jets by this summer, CNN reported on Feb. 20.

According to CNN, the pilots, who have been training at a U.S. air base in Arizona since October, are expected to complete their training between May and August, although the exact completion date depends on their progress through the program.

Two other cohorts of pilots, who began training earlier this year, are currently undergoing basic training, as well as English-language training, which is required to fly the fourth-generation U.S. fighter jet.

Last October, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that the U.S. would join Denmark and the Netherlands in leading the coalition of countries training Ukrainian pilots. The "fighter jet coalition" was first established by 11 founding nations in July at the Vilnius NATO summit.

Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Belgium also agreed to supply their own aircraft to bolster Ukraine's Air Force.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian media reported that Ukraine may receive its first F-16 fighter jets this June, citing comments made by Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas and an unnamed European official.

Ukraine's Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said on television he cannot confirm nor deny the June timeline.

"I can only confirm that the action plan is indeed being carried out. Our partners are ready to hand over the planes to Ukraine," Ihnat said.

The total number of the jets to be delivered has not yet been announced, but The Telegraph estimated that Ukraine may receive as many as 60 F-16s.

Canada allocates $44 million to support Ukraine’s future F-16 fleet
Canada has allocated $44 million to support Ukraine set up its fleet of F-16 fighter jets, Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair said on Feb. 14.

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